(FCancer Benefit, photo: BFA)
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s rare to see the Manhattan set reverse-commute into Brooklyn for an evening’s festivities (and even rarer to find them traveling all the way to Bushwick), but for the first annual FCancer New York benefit, that’s exactly what they did.
On a breezy Thursday evening, an outdoor/indoor event space in a decidedly industrial corner of the up-and-coming neighborhood (where I actually happen to reside) was transformed into a bohemian paradise that was part Renaissance Faire, part Burning Man.
In the courtyard, socialites in maxi dresses and flower crowns (so, so many flower crowns) were treated to performances by contortionists, fire breathers, fortune tellers, and bands of travelling musicians that moved spontaneously through the party, occasionally interrupting otherwise carefully orchestrated photo-ops. The bohemian theme somehow slipped my mind, but luckily for me, 75% of my closet could easily fall into that category. My black J Brand bell bottoms and cut-out Alice McCall top went over just fine, though I did feel a bit more Studio 54 than Woodstock.
(Constance Jablonski, photo: BFA)
Everyone from Michael Avedon (grandson of famed fashion photog Richard Avedon) and Claire Distenfeld (owner of avant-garde Upper East Side boutique Fivestory) to Internet muse Cory Kennedy and model Constance Jablonski lounged inside pillow-strewn Tipis getting tipsy on cocktails until the late-night live auction started just shy of midnight.
While partying alongside actual runway models is sometimes (read: always) intimidating, it was all for a good cause: FCancer’s unique mission allows young creatives to donate their time and talents (rather than just funds) to major cancer foundations in need of their specific expertise.
That weekend, MoMA PS1, the Museum of Modern Art’s ultra-hip Long Island City outpost hosted their annual art book fair, which has become a staple for hipsters and the literary set. Booths touting rare books, art prints, ‘zines, and kooky memorabilia spilled out from inside the former school and into the courtyard area, where local bands jammed into the evening.
Flanked by two intrepid pals, I attempted to weave through the crowd, most of whom were decked out in well-worn, all-black ensembles with the kind of canvas tote bags I’ve come to refer to as “tote brags” for their uncanny ability to signal the wearer’s status as someone who frequents far-flung biennales, underground galleries, and indie bookstores.
My roommate spotted an acquaintance manning one of the booths. In addition to an array of illustrated books, he was selling pink balloons printed with the phrase “Fuck It” in simple black ink. Charmed, I purchased one for a friend’s birthday later that evening.
(The author at the MoMA Ps1 Art Book Fair, photo: Erin Pinover)
That Monday, I was invited to the opening of the Museum of Art and Design’s annual jewelry exhibition and sale, which features contemporary jewelers making everything from chunky, architectural collar necklaces (perfect with the standard all-black New York art world ensemble) to bohemian floral necklaces crafted from paper.
The opening was full of elegantly dressed socialites of a certain age, who much to the chagrin of their husbands seemed to be snapping up artisan pieces like candy. I was oblivious to the fact that I had been invited to attend the dinner following the reception, set in the museum’s rooftop restaurant, until one of the curators informed me she had seen my name on the list.
(Guests at the MAD About Jewelry Cocktail Benefit, photo: Patrick McMullan)
In a drapey Helmut Lang dress and blue snakeskin Topshop flats, I was the youngest person at my table by at least 25 years, but this didn’t bother me. Sure, it would have been nice to be seated beside an handsome, eligible bachelor perhaps just a decade my senior, but I’m always in the market to garner free wisdom from people my parents age–who didn’t necessarily give birth to me.
To my left was a gorgeous and engaging blonde who couldn’t help but crack a few jokes during the otherwise staid portion of the night dedicated to various speeches. Across the table was her husband, who was a dead ringer for John Edwards. They met in New York, and she had the gall to be the one to pursue him “before that was a thing,” as she put it.
Her advice for me? Don’t be afraid to go after what I want, “and stop saying fuck so often.” Point taken.
(Photo: Patrick McMullan)
By Cait Munro